When Jacob Green started his Charity Golf Classic in 1988 to honor his late father and benefit Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Seahawks’ all-time sack leader never envisioned what it has become.
The 26th annual event was held Friday at The Golf Course at Newcastle. It attracted the usual cast of characters – from former Cy Young Award winner Vida Blue, to former Sonics great Gus Williams, to former Seahawks teammates Dave Krieg, Terry Taylor, Reggie McKenzie and Bobby Joe Edmunds, to civic leaders whose lives also have been touched by cancer.
“Anything I try and I do I try to be successful at, but who knew it would be 26 years?” Green said through a smile as the foursomes and five-somes where completing their rounds and making their way to the post-tournament buffet and awards ceremony.
“It’s been gratifying.”
“It’s a no-brainer that we continue to do this,” he said. “We have fun doing it. It’s for a great cause. And I think everybody looks forward to it because it helps the cause of cancer and I think everybody enjoys the tournament.”
That was indeed the case on Friday, because of the cause but also the host – Green, one of the most-productive and most-popular players in franchise history.
“You support Jacob and you support The Hutch, that’s basically what it’s all about,” said former Seahawks wide receiver Paul Skansi, who is now a scout for the San Diego Chargers and also a regular in the Green tournament. “How many people have been touched by cancer in their life? Almost everybody, you could say, whether it’s family, friends or just somebody you know.
“It’s a great cause. It’s a good tournament. And Jacob is a great guy.”
Offered Terry Taylor, a former cornerback who was the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 1984, “I’ve known Jacob since 1984, so I come to this tournament every year to support Jacob. I owe it to Jacob, and it’s a good cause. I love doing it.”
Taylor has his own history with The Hutch. “When I played here, I used to go to The Hutch and sign autographs for the kids,” he said. “So when Jacob got involved, I was with him 100 percent.”
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But the real winners, of course, are those helped by the funds the event generates. Green’s tournament and dinner/auction that is held the night before has raised almost $3 million to help The Hutch help others.
Like Brotherton’s father, who died three years ago.
“My dad passed away from cancer,” Brotherton said. “He was treated at The Hutch, so I know the work that we do and the money we invest helped him get as far along as he did. When he was diagnosed, it was really about how much time he would get with grandkids. That was really his whole plan, to say, ‘How much more time do I have?’
“And I know that The Hutch gave him more time. There’s no doubt about it.”
Then there is the Jacob Green connection, which is especially important to Brotherton, who grew up on Mercer Island and now lives in Belltown with his family.
“Jacob Green is a great example of people coming back to Seattle and making our community a better place,” he said. “Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is doing such great work. So it just betters where we live and gives us access to things that I don’t think a lot of other communities have.
“So being able to contribute and be a part of something that does such great work it’s a lot of fun.”